ATTOM Data Solutions just released its Q4 2019 US Home Affordability Report that indicates 71% of US counties, or 344 of 486 counties, remained unaffordable for average wage earners. This 71% is an eye-popping statistic BUT still an improvement of lack of affordability over 73% in Q3 2019 and 75% in Q4 2018.

ATTOM’s Housing Affordability Index calculates the amount of income one would need to make for monthly house payments including monthly mortgages fees, property taxes and home insurance on a median price home. ATTOM assumes a 3% down payment and a 28% maximum “front end” debt-to-income ratio.) ATTOM then compares that required income to the annualized average weekly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Despite declining mortgage rates and increasing wages compensating for rising home prices, home ownership still eats up 32.5% of wages and is still less affordable in 49% of local markets. Again, that 49% is an improvement from a whopping 72% in Q4 2018. Price appreciation, +9% y/y, outpaced wage growth in 76% during Q4 2019.

Attom’s 10 Least Affordable Counties with Populations of +1M in Q4 2019

  • Los Angeles County CA
  • Maricopa County (Phoenix) AZ
  • San Diego County CA
  • Orange County CA
  • Miami-Dade County FL
  • Kings County NY
  • Dallas County TX
  • Riverside County CA
  • Queens County NY
  • San Bernardino County CA

ATTOM’s Most Affordable Counties with Populations of +1M in Q4 2019 

  • Cook County (Chicago) IL
  • Harris County (Houston) TX
  • Wayne County (Detroit) MI
  • Philadelphia County PA
  • Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) OH
  • Franklin County (Columbus) OH
  • Oakland County (Pontiac) MI
  • Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) PA
  • Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) NC
  • Fulton County (Atlanta) GA

With a national median home price of $257,000 in Q4 2019, an average weekly wage earner would need a gross annual income of $67,647 in order to achieve home ownership.

Counties Requiring The Smallest Amount of Annualized Weekly Wages in Q4 2019 included…

  • Baltimore City/County MO – 11.2%
  • Bibb County (Macon) GA – 12.4%
  • Rock Island County (Davenport) IL – 14.4%
  • Wayne County (Detroit) MI – 15.2%
  • Richmond County (Augusta) GA – 15.2%

Counties Requiring The Greatest Percentage of Annualized Weekly Wages in Q4 2019 included…

  • Marin County CA – 111.2%
  • Kings County (Brooklyn) NY – 103.6%
  • Santa Cruz County CA – 103%
  • Monterey County CA – 88%
  • Maui County HW – 84.9%

Counties with +1M People Seeing The Biggest Annual Percentage Improvement in Affordability in Q4 2019 included…

  • New York (Manhattan) NY – +33%
  • Kings County (Brooklyn) NY – +20%
  • Middlesex County (outside Boston) MA – +14%
  • Santa Clara County CA – +13%
  • Orange County (outside of Los Angeles) CA – +11%

Counties with -1M People Seeing The Biggest Annual Percentage Improvement in Affordability in Q4 2019 included…

  • Butte County (north of Sacramento) CA – +39%
  • Bay County (Panama City) FL – +26%
  • Florence County SC – +26%
  • Cecil County (outside of Wilmington) MD – +23%
  • Bristol County (outside of Providence) MA – +21%


Thanks to ATTOM Data Solutions’ Christine Stricker for source data.

Also read: Top 10 Counties with Best & Worst Home Affordability, House Flipping “Just the Beginning” for Zillow Offers

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